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New Ashley Joi Interview with

Growing up with a mother who is a successful singer and a father who managed her might lead a child in a certain career path, as is the case with Ashley Joi. Born and raised on the mean streets of Detroit with aspirations of becoming an entertainment lawyer, Ashley was exposed to things most children aren’t. It was only a matter of time before her mother's’ usical background would grab a hold of Ashley as she began singing and writing music.

Honing her talent, Ashley's big break came when Ja Rule performed a song that she wrote. Blown away by her talent, Ashley was signed by Irv Gotti and Ja, and the future is looking bright for the young talent. caught up with Ashley to discuss her relationship with Irv and Ja, how she got into the business, and why her group doesn’t have a name yet.

Hey Ashley, how you doin'?

I'm great!! Thank you

You're from Detroit, what was life like growing up? 

Detroit is definitely not the easiest place to grow up. I probably saw more stuff by the age of 12 than a lot of people see ever. I was exposed to a lot at a very young age but I know it made me really strong. I'm blessed though because my family was solid and they kept me focused on the right things.

Your mother had extreme success in the music business. Did her success help you think you could make it too? 

Definitely. My mother's plaques hung all around our house when I was younger and that was a daily reminder that going platinum was attainable. Her career also showed me just how much persistence and diligence it took to be successful not just in the music business, but in life.

Your Father was also involved in the music industry before his passing (i'm sorry for your loss) Did he influence you as well?

Yes,  my Dad managed my mother's group and I was such a "daddy's little girl" that for a while I actually wanted to do what he did!  I wanted to be an entertainment lawyer and handle all the behind the scenes business.  My parents offered a really good balance so I got the music & the business.

Any singers in particular that influenced you?

Tons!!! Aaliyah, Chante Moore, the Emotions, Anita Baker, Aretha, SWV, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Lauryn Hill.... I could go on forever.

What was the first project you ever worked on?

Ja Rule's "Free " was the first song that I wrote that got picked up by a major artist.

How did you end up signing with Irv Gotti?

Irv embraced me as a writer and he envisioned me as an artist even before I did.

What is it like working with Ja and Irv?

Ja is cool, his ideas and concepts just flow and he's like this big burst of energy in the studio, he's an incredible talent.  Irv's energy level is always on 10 and he's very blunt so that energy in the studio forces you to be at your best.

Has your life changed dramatically since you got signed?

Not really. I'm still grinding just as hard as I was before everything popped off...  I dont believe in being "comfortable"... Theres always another level to reach!

Now, you're part of a group but you guys don't have a name yet right?

Right, it's so much harder than it seems to pick a name.We are taking suggestions though, Ihave a clip of us singing on my MySpace so people can hear us then make suggestions...

Who else is in the group?

Stefanee Morrison & Adrienne La'Jay

What can we expect from this group, how big do you feel you guys are going to get?

Sky is the limit! People always ask who we sound like and we can name like 20 different artist in 5 different genres because each of us has so much depth.

Everybody can stand alone as a solo artist but we decided to be a powerful group first because there is such a void in the industry right now for girl groups. 

What do you enjoy more, writing for other artists or performing?

Both. I love the audiences energy so much but I also think writing is very fulfilling, its a different kind of rush.

You're a beautiful girl, I think you could get into acting, modeling. Do you plan to do other things outside of the music industry?

Aaaaw, thank you so much! I plan on doing a lot outside of music. I actually started off acting and I would love to pursue that again. I'm  also the spokesmodel for my familys jewelry design company - - so everything is kinda intertwined.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

You can definitely expect to see more of me and the group, and our project is coming in '08 and expect to see my name popping up in more of these writing credits.

Anything you would like to say to your fans at

Thank you all so much for your love & support. Make sure you visit for updates on me and the girls. Thank you

Please Leave your comments on our

published on January 3 rd, 2008

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2 New Remixes of Ja Rule's Street Single 'Uh Oh'

A young up and coming producer Mughal has put his touch on Ja Rule's 'Uh Oh' you might remember MIO brought you a remix to Lloyd's 'You' by Mughal earlier this year well hes back with these two remixes. The first is a more comercial radio freindly remix with the other being a more street mix or a 'Drive By' type of sound as Mughal describes it. You can listen to both tracks below, leave your opinions on our forum and check out more work by Mughal on his website.

Uh Oh Ja Rule Feat Lil Wayne Mughal Remix (Commercial Radio mix)

Uh Oh Ja Rule Feat Lil Wyane Mughal Remix (Drive-by mix)

published on December 16 th, 2007

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MIO Interview With Cristian Alexanda/Video for Too Fine

MIO recently sat down with Australia's hottest R&B artist Cristian Alexanda for an exclusive interview. One of Australia's most popular Rnb performers, Cristian Alexanda is back after a 2 year hiatus. His first album "Cristyle" went gold, with two smash singles "Party Anthem & Misunderstood". After having toured with Sean Paul, 50 Cent, G Unit, Obie Trice and Mr Future/Sex Love Sounds Timberlake, Cris took some time off to chill. Now he is back with a brand new album featuring production from Styalz Fuego (chamillionaire), Froedge (Wu Tang), Audius (Selwyn/Delta Goodrem) and Revelino and even chipping in with production himself. Already labelled as "The best Rnb Album to ever come out of Australia" by those in the industry, Cristian is back. With features from a range of up coming Australian rappers Roy-Al & Esscay over to US rap stars Ja Rule & Fabolous, URBAN NATURE has something for everyone.

MIO: It’s been a little over three years since your debut album Cristyle dropped, why did you decide to wait so long to release Urban Nature? Do you think you needed that time away for the fans to miss you?


CA: I do everything my way, and when you do it your way and don’t listen to producers and record companies etc, it takes time to get everything that you want done. So that’s what the whole process was, I’m sure Ja is doing that now as well, I’m sure he’s very hands on as well production wise. That’s what takes up your time, if you’re very hands on with everything, and I’ve been everywhere all around the world recording this, from New York to Melbourne you know what I mean, I’ve been everywhere.


MIO: Could you compare Urban Nature to Cristyle in terms of how you’ve grown and developed musically?


CA: Yeah I can compare it. I think this new album is so much hotter. I think the first album was hot, me and my girl used to sit there and be like ‘how the f*ck are you gonna top that sh*t?’ and you know thank God that it just happens man, I topped it. I had Ja, I had Fab, Styalz Fuego (up and coming producer from Melbourne, did Chamillionaire – Not a Criminal) is amazing, Revelino added some cuts, Audius. I mean the cats I got together for this album are probably the best urban cats Australia can produce right now, including myself (laughs).


MIO: There was a track on your myspace called ‘Round 2’ that was getting at a lot of the doubters and haters out there. You had a few words for Israel (another Australian R&B artist). What’s the situation there, you guys got a beef?


CA: Well I had a situation with Israel where he tried to sign me to New Firm, and he’s one of them cats that probably make too many promises and then don’t keep ‘em. I’m one of them cats you don’t make promises to if you can’t keep ‘em because I’m gonna voice my opinion a week later, you know what I mean? So that’s what happened with me and Israel man, he tried to keep me in a situation where I couldn’t be held down, and he tried to hold me down and it didn’t work out for him or me. It just is what it is, he’s a bitch n*gga anyway so f*ck it, it’s all good.    


MIO: You don’t see the two of you coming together?


CA: Naaah! Nah, nah he’s all good, I aint got no beef with him but…Israel’s all good man, I aint got words for that cat. He does what he does and I do what I do.


MIO: Just keep it moving.


CA: That’s right, exactly.


MIO: So back to the collaborations, we all know you’ve got Ja, you got Nelly, you got Fabolous and T.I. did you say?


CA: Well we had T.I. but he’s in trouble right now with the law, I had a couple cats, I had Remy Ma. Remy Ma got busted the same week I was supposed to do a track with her.


MIO: Oh man, a whole bunch of rappers were in court that day.


CA: Yeah, see I try to keep it gangsta, the problem there is every gangsta I try to work with gets f*ckin’ arrested (laughs). I got in the day Ja and Lil’ Wayne got arrested.


MIO: Busta Rhymes was in court too.


CA: Yeah Lil’ Wayne got arrested, I was meant to be at that Lil’ Wayne concert but I chose to go to a meeting with my manager instead trying to handle business, but Ja and him got arrested that same night. I probably would’ve got deported if that were the case.


MIO: (Laughs) Hip Hop’s under attack man.


CA: That’s right, it’s crazy.  


MIO: Were you actually in the studio recording with these guys? I know with Ja you were, but did you actually get to personally work with Fab and Nelly?


CA: I actually left the day these guys (points to his manager Dan) went and hooked up with Fab, but I left that day to go and handle some personal business back in Perth. I flew back a week later, but Fabolous I heard was nothing but a gentleman, he hung out for hours.


MIO: He’s a real ladies man.


CA: Yeah he’s a good man, he did his job. I wasn’t even there and the way he put it down was insane.


MIO: Yeah the chemistry was almost like you were in the studio with him recording.


CA: That’s right, that’s right. I’m gonna be doing a video with Fab real soon. Fuego’s done the original right now.


MIO: Oh for real? Up in New York?


CA: Yeah In New York, I’ll be going back there in March.


Continue reading the full interview here on our forums. Shout out to Dan at Smack-Entertainment and Cristian Alexanda.

Also check out the brand new video for Too Fine (feat. Ja Rule), the debut single from Cristian's new album Urban Nature.

published on December 12 th, 2007

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Ja Rule: Life After Beef

Ja Rule
The last time Ja Rule was buzzworthy was during the times of the infamous G-Unit-Murder Inc. beef. But the Rule is back, and in fact, says that he has always been here, but just patiently waiting for the right time to re-emerge in the world of hip-hop. Although many speculated that since the annihilation of Murder Inc, Ja Rule would never be able to re-claim his former status or integrity in the game from fans or colleagues, he thinks differently.

His newest project, The Mirror, was slated for a November 2008 release, but due to supposed sample clearance issues, the release date was pushed further back. Hypothetically, Ja Rule wants The Mirror to be received as an internal manifestation for both himself and his fans. He walks us through events that he believes contributed to the overall triumph of his career and breaks down the reasoning behind an almost three year hiatus from putting out albums. It seems like just you and Irv Gotti are left after the dust settled, do you feel like people turned on you due to the outcome of the beef between you and 50 Cent?

Ja Rule: I mean, it's the nature of people -- to be here and love you and everything is great when everything is good. When sh-- is bad, people tend to disappear. That's the nature of the world we live in. You can't fight it. You just got to deal with it and move on. Your last two albums went gold, do you consider that an upset?

Ja Rule: Not at all. I'm Ja Rule, so my standard, my mark has been set really high. So when I do projects, people expect me to sell three and four million records, and it's just not gonna happen every project. Especially right now when record sales are not that. So people that are looking for me to sell three and four million records, newsflash... It's not happening right now people. Nobody's doing that. Do you feel like your declining record sales have anything do with switching off and on from street records to female records back to street records? Do you feel like it confuses your fan base?

Ja Rule: I think it has a lot to do with the timing and they way the industry is moving. It's one of those things. I've been in the game so long, you know, people kind of can get a little bit tired. Sometimes you got to take a little bit of a break to relax, let the dust settle and come back and do your thing. Plus I had a lot of other issues, federal issues and beefs, so for me to just be able to relax and fall back from it all was more then a blessing. Do you feel like the 50 Cent battle added value to the success of your career or took value away from it?

Ja Rule: As I look at it in the long run, it added to what I do. Understand me? I was very known before the beef. Then you take into consideration that you got one of the biggest artists beefing with another one of the biggest artists, then you throw Eminem into that equation, it just spiraled into something so big. I can go to the tiniest crevice in the world and they'll be like "Oh sh--, that's Ja Rule." Good or bad!? You feel what I'm saying? And what it did was let people form whatever opinion they wanted to, good or bad. Like you know what "f--- him" or you know what "I like him." But, in a world that we live in, when you step outside the hip-hop bubble -- oh that has big dollars because of the fact that everybody knows who the f--- I am. To Corporate America, that's very big, cause they're like "Hate it or love him, if I attach the right product to him, and you like that product, you're going to go get it." If the product is worth getting, I don't give a f--- who's attached to it, but the fact is a guy that's attached to it, that can get everybody's attention is a good thing, its dollar signs for these other guys. I didn't realize that at first. Living inside this hip-hop bubble, you could kind of look at the way that the media throws their darts and people throw their darts like "Damn yo, I ain't popping right now." It's until you step outside that small world we live in called hip-hop, then you'll see there is such a big world out there. There's people that didn't even know I had a beef, they just heard my name through the grapevine. You know what I mean? There's people that I meet and don't know that I'm Ja Rule. But the minute I say my name, they like "Oh, sh--!" So, hate it or love it -- no pun intended. (Laughs) How are you going to avoid any chance of anyone, including G-Unit, rekindling the infamous beef?

Ja Rule: I'm not thinking about it at all. And anyone wasting time on it, is doing just that -- wasting time. The beef is like three years old and it started in the streets. So really, the media (y'all) have no clue what this sh-- is about. Y'all don't know where it stemmed from, where it came from or how it got dealt with. All y'all know is what he [50 Cent] said on records and what I said on records. That's all y'all know, and that's all y'all never gonna know until that day whenever it just leaks out and everything is everything. But that day will probably never come because I'm done talking about it. When we were first introduced to you, you were with The Murderers doing the street thing. Then shortly after you became a real SoundScan killer when you found your niche singing on hooks to love centered rap joints, which one is the real Ja Rule?

Ja Rule: Both of them is Ja Rule. You got to look at the spectrum of it all. I rhyme with conviction and with passion. So nobody didn't believe Ja Rule when I was screaming "It's Murda" and nobody didn't believe Ja Rule when I said "Put it on me." Y'all all believed, like "I feel what he's saying." To me that's what music, that's what artistry is about. Nobody wakes up on the same side of the bed. I don't wake up every morning mad; I don't wake up every morning happy. So, it's one of those things where you have to express that through your music. You can't be one dimensional when you claim that you wanna make music for the people. You look at a lot of artists and you see them do reality shows and you see a whole other side of the artist you never seen because they don't express it through their music. So you seeing a whole other side to the artist. With Ja Rule, you've met me. You've seen my dark side. You've seen my bright side. You've seen me be in love. You've seen Ja Rule. I'm not putting on a façade or a mask, this is who I am. Do you feel like your girl songs made you vulnerable for people like 50 Cent to pick on? Do you feel like if you never made the girl records, you would still be in this quandary with G-Unit?

Ja Rule: If I didn't make those records, there probably wouldn't be a 50 Cent, or the other artist that shared the format that I made very, very popular. I'm not saying I invented the format; I just made it hella popular. I made it cool to harmonize on a record. I made it cool to do that sh--. And when I did it, a lot of artists took to it and said "Yo, I always wanted to sing on a record." Andre 3000 started doing it. Nelly came out with those style records. F---in sh--, I just heard a record with Lil Wayne and Jay-Z and he's singing the whole f---in' hook! Matter fact, me and Weezy was together and he taking singing lessons! So I'm like "Listen man, everyone gon' ridicule me about what the f--- I do, step back and look in the mirror, n----." Feel what I'm saying? That's why album's called The Mirror 'cause it's your only place of truth. I can't lie to myself and you shouldn't be able to either. When you pick up that CD, look at yourself and answer your own questions. Irv Gotti has been in and out of legal troubles for a long time now. Do you feel that he provides you a good home at the Inc? Even when he, the boss is having his own personal issues?

Ja Rule: Yeah, this is home. You gotta understand Murder Inc is a stamp. It's a brand, no matter how you cut it or slice it. The brand helped a lot of careers. Just because the brand goes through some dark spot, doesn't mean you abandon the brand. For me, it's like a professional sports team. You got the franchise players and sometimes they unhappy. Sometimes they want to be traded. Is it right? You know what I'm saying? That's the point I'm making. Not to say that it's something that doesn't happen, but is it right? Just because right now Kobe's not winning in L.A., he wants to be traded. It happens all the time, but is it right? Like Kobe's asking to be traded from the Lakers after they f---in' gave up Shaq to keep you to make you happy. They fired Phil to keep you and make you happy. Loyalty should be respected and sometimes it's not. That's the only thing that f---ed up in the business we're in. There's no loyalty. Nobody respects it at all. Speaking of loyalty, Irv went onto the Wendy Williams show recently and aired out Nelly and Ashanti. Do you feel like that's right?

Ja Rule: I mean that's their business. Nelly and Ashanti's business? Or Irv's for airing it out?

Ja Rule: Irv and Ashanti's. It's not my business. It's not my business to comment on it like that because it's not my situation. So anything that I can say just adds to it. It just gives a chance for another media outlet to say "Ja said this" when it's really not my situation. Is Ashanti still on the label?

Ja Rule: Yes, Ashanti's still here. Ashanti has had a hard time coming out since Concrete Rose didn't measure up to her prior projects. Do you feel like the 50 Cent beef had any negative consequences on her career as well?

Ja Rule: I don't think that 50 Cent had anything to do with anybody's career per se. We went through our little whatever, whatever. I think he had to do with the hate that ensued from the public. As far as career wise, everybody's still good career wise. We may not be selling the records that we were selling before, but to me the industry is f---ed up. Nobody's selling those records, so it's kind of hard to point the finger at Murder Inc. I can look at a lot of artists pointing fingers and say "N----, did you ever those kinds of records? Do you know what that feels like to sell three or four million records?" To some degree, it's a slap in the face to point the finger, but then on the next degree, it's kind of like a cop out for us to say that we didn't have our differences and our problems. You understand? You got to understand it was all hand in hand, there was problems, there was differences and the record industry was falling off. It was just timing and it just looks bad. But I'm not mad at my sales of my last projects. Those sh--s didn't do bad. Blood Of My Eye went gold and R.U.L.E. is pushing platinum. I'm like "Yo, I'm alright. We alright." Why do you think there is such a lack of assortment with hip-hop artists these days?

Ja Rule: Cause first of all, artists lack creativity. A lot of artists just want to make money, so they'll follow what makes money last. They don't give a f--- if it's a sing-a-long record or a tough guy record or whatever. They just watch for sales and the charts and then they go in on the record trying to make a record like that. Instead of saying, "I'm my own artist, I got my own vibe and my own zone. Maybe if I came out with this style or this type of record, it may change the way people view records. And I may be the new sh--." That was the level of thinking that I was on when I did "Put It On Me." I was thinking, alright Jay's got this lane, he's flossed out, he got that. X is over here, he got the grimy sh--, he got that. Nobody's f---in' with the women. I got that! I'm gonna use that and that's my sh--. And maybe that will change the way people view hip-hop at the moment since they only viewed it from two areas: flossed out or grimy. Every n---- coming out was either grimy or flossy until Ja came out f---in' with the women and really, really started getting radio spins. Then artists were like "Oh, sh--! Maybe if I make records for the chicks, I'll get that look." I have to mention your body because everyone is talking about how you got ripped and put on some very visible muscle mass. What sparked this upgrade?

Ja Rule: For me, I read a lot of books. In one of my books that I was reading, it talks about body and mind and how when you physically feel confident, when you can look in the mirror and feel good about yourself, it carries over to everything else. You think more positive. I've always had a nice physical build, but with this project I had to get my mind right. And in order to get my mind right, I had to get my physical right.

published on December 5 th, 2007

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'Gotti's Way' set for season 2 on VH1

Gotti's Way, the VH1 reality series in which rap mogul Irv Gotti balances the demands of fatherhood with rebuilding his record label, will return early next year for a second season, the Hollywood Insider has learned exclusively. ''We can announce today, officially, that we're doing season 2," MTV Networks entertainment president Brian Graden tells EW's Margeaux Watson. "Production's almost immediate, because we know what's going in their lives." And that would be? Well, Graden won't divulge any details but hints that tonight's season finale, titled "Divorce Pt. 2," doesn't resolve the question of whether Gotti and his estranged wife Deb reconcile. "It is definitely explored in season 2," he offers, "I think it's fair to say that that conversation is still very much alive."

published on December 5 th, 2007

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Rock Reality Show Recap: Irv Remains Torn Between Murder Inc. and His Family on Finale of “Gotti’s Way”

Gotti’s Way tracks Murder Inc. mogul Irv Gotti’s attempts to rebuild his empire and fix his broken home, while our Rock Reality Show Recaps track how many times he breaks out Ja Rule in each episode. Here’s our report on the season finale:

Thirty Minutes in Five Sentences: It took him an entire season, but Irv finally comes clean about his crumbling family life, which was always the true focus of his reality show (sorry, rap fans). “This is the stupidity of Irv Gotti,” he explains as the reason he “can’t stop fucking.” His embattled sorta-wife Deb officially decides to get over Gotti’s straying ways, though not necessarily through divorce, and consoles sensitive first-born son Sonny after telling him the news. “I thought Deb was an asshole,” Gotti says upon learning Deb spoke to their son about the matter. And you thought this was a family show!

Does Ja Rule Gotti’s Life?: You know it. With a second season of Gotti’s Way debuting in early ’08, Gotti squeezed Ja in for one last round of flattery in a studio scene we already saw most of last episode. “You just zoned off and thought of that?” he asks of Ja’s latest hook. “That’s ill!” Ja then hops in the vocal booth and Gotti voices this bold comment: “[It’s] the smash of his lifetime!”

Irv’s Industry Advice: Gotti was too overwhelmed with marital issues to supply some decent industry advice this episode, but hey, what’s his excuse been all season?

Broken Home: Gotti and Deb’s heat reaches new heights, and Gotti takes his anger out on the camera crew. “Turn the cameras off, yo,” he commands. “And all of you get the fuck out.” He then justifies his rough family situation by saying it’s a weird, dysfunctional life, but that’s how he’s got to live it. Deb decides she’s done playing house and wants to find “someone” or “something” better. Conclusion? Deb may need to find a new man. And that would be a fantastic topic for the second season. I Love New Rochelle, anyone?

published on December 5 th, 2007

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Ja Rule - The Mirror VIBE Review (Revolutions)

Ja Rule

Six albums into a spasmodic, controversial, and exceptionally successful carrer in rap, it's highly possible that Ja Rule may have discovered postmodernism - or at least, how to be glibly meta onhis sometimes bizarre, essentially unsuccessful seventh release (his first in three years), The Mirror. What else could explain Ja's propensity for repeatedly quoting other rappers' famous lines, as he does on the Erick Sermon-produced "Ladies" ("I've got hoes in different area codes") or the Game-assisted "Sunset" ("Meet me at the Mondrian...," "Hate it or love it"), among others? Or the tracks named after recent action films ("300", "Enemy Of The State," "Rules Of Engagement")? Or even the baffling "Father Forgive Me," which features the familiar, angst-laden cello and violins of the Beatles' 1966 "Eleanor Rigby" under Ja's signature snarl? Has an artist particularly infamous for constructing an image that may not have reflected his reality ingeniously flipped the script by holding a more literal "mirror" up to the entertainment industry? Or perhaps the couched references to ghost-riding the whip and candy paint, the minimalist synth-bap of the production, and the Lil Wayne feature (on the jittering first single "Uh Ohhh!!"") are trend-hopping at their most shameless. From Ja's perspective, shamelessness may be the new fearlessness. Over the weighty electro-futurism of "Hear Say", Ja himself casts his persona as effigy, listing the myriad insults leveled at him throughout his career ("They say I'm overdue / They say I act brand new."). It's fascinating to hear Ja's defiant rejoinder to his critics, rappers and otherwise: "Mariah Carey-ass niggas," he calls them. "Are you the answer like A.I. or questionable like A-Rod?" But is he asking them or himself? We wonder whether he truly knows he's more A-Rod than A.I., or if the reflection Ja sees is still strictly funhouse.

Pete L'Official.

published on December 5 th, 2007

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Ja Rule To Record New Tracks

November 29, 2007 -- THE Inc. Records label founders Irv Gotti and Ja Rule appear to be best friends as well as business partners on their VH1 show, "Gotti's Way" - but music industry insiders say behind the scenes, they're at one another's throats. "Ja is mad because Irv pushed his new record, 'The Mirror,' back again to some time in 2008," our spy said. "Irv tried to release two singles - 'Uh-Oh' and 'Body' - and they got no radio play, so he got nervous. The album was supposed to come out Sept. 18 and was pushed back to Nov. 13 and now has no date except 2008. Irv wants Ja to record over the holidays and Ja feels he's done enough. He's furious." But Kim Harris, a rep for Ja Rule, said, "That's not true. They get along very well. They're brothers." She said the album "will likely come out in February. Ja's going back in the studio to do a couple more tracks. It was a mutual decision."

published on November 29 th, 2007

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Irv Gotti Hiphopdx Interview

Some would say that Irving Lorenzo and Irv Gotti are the same person. The Hollis, Queens, New Yorker has had a storied career of highs and lows. Having been behind-the-scenes to some of the most prominent events in the “high rise” era of hip-hop, Lorenzo was/is a calculating businessman – able to place the right people in the right positions at the right time. How would Mic Geronimo have sounded by himself and without DMX, Jay-Z and Ja Rule on a track together? Would Time To Build be the classic that it is now? With Gotti being the go-to-man involved with the illest camps who were running rap at the time [Roc-A-Fella, Ruff Ryders and his own – Murder, Inc.] – it seemed that nothing was going to stop him from being the next rap industry icon.

Then enters 50 Cent.

With something that can be nothing short of awe-inspiring the 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule & Murder, Inc. filled headlines and made the public shift their focus away from the pop-oriented, chart dominating Murder, Inc. for the growing movement that was 50 Cent and G-Unit. Fast forward the clock and it’s 2007 – Irving Lorenzo and Irv Gotti are, indeed, the same man and the duality of their trials and tribulations have made for hip-hop news. The challenge now for Gotti is to get his spot back and his company back to its former prominence.

Vh1 brings Irv Gotti into your living room… and with him comes along his stable of Murder, Inc. artists. The pressure is on for Gotti to “comeback” in the microwave minds of the hip-hop buying public, but as he shows in this interview with HipHopDX – his love, his loyalty and his determination will not stop his ascension back into the game.

HipHopDX: How do you think that the Vh1 show will revitalize your label?
Irv Gotti: It’s just exposure. It’s giving my artists and everything that I’m doing some exposure. In these day and times, where, you know – look [points to TV] – we’re watching Hell Date, you know what I’m saying? After that, it’ll be The Wayans Brothers, you know? With all of the video networks, it’s more about shows and less about music videos. It’s harder for artists to get exposure. You don’t see videos too much on TV anymore. They send you to the Internet to check out videos, now. I think it helps my artists Ja [Rule], Vanessa [Carlton], Lloyd because they get to be on the box, with me, every week. The people get to see them and relate to them in a more personal way.

DX: On the show, you and Deb have a very unconventional family arrangement that still seems to work out for everyone involved at most times. Now, that the cameras are rolling, has it put a strain on that relationship?
Nah, there ain’t nothing that can put a strain on me and Deb. What people need to realize is that what people are seeing now is that I’ve been with her for sixteen years; you know what I’m saying? There isn’t anything that her and I haven’t been through or seen or whatever. This show can’t do anything to us [laughs]. It’s crazy, but it can’t. Like, I got kicked out of the house and we separated like six, seven years ago and after I got kicked out; that two years – there was a lot of hatred between us. It was a lot of bullshit. So, what everyone is seeing now is years past the bullshit, where we just developed a coolness, a friendship that I don’t think could ever be broken.

DX: Deb said that there’s a huge difference between the Irv that she knows and the “Irv Gotti” that “Hip Hop created.” Do you feel like the pressures of the game have turned you into a monster?
IG: Yeah, yeah, man… there’s definitely two me’s. I think that everyone has two of themselves, though – T.I./T.I.P. – everyone has that. When I’m at work, I’m more of an Irv Gotti mentality. But when I’m home with the kids, I’m just daddy. I’m not yelling and screaming at everybody like I’d do in the office. I’m not the boss of an army at home… I’m just the boss of my family, it’s different.

DX: Do you think that success created the monster of “Irv Gotti”…?
IG: Oh, yeah! The music business is definitely like the Devil’s playground. I said this on the show, “…usually the Devil wins in the music business.” We know that we be doing wild foul shit, or whatever like that, but we still do it. It’s a fucked up thing to say, because I am spiritual and I’m into God, but it’s the realest thing. I take all of the good with the bad that comes with it. I love this business, I love music and so whatever comes with it – I take it all. All of the bullshit that comes with it, I’ll do it.

DX: With all of the changes that the Internet has made within the music business – is there a way for anyone in the rap industry to have dominance anymore?
Yeah, there’s still room for a ma’fucka to come and dominate the game. I think I’m going to do it, too. I got this new artist by the name of Newz [] and he got me feeling real good. He got that raw energy that only a new, hungry rapper has. He has that same bullshit, that same determination. I think that the people are going to respond to it. He has this one rhyme where he spits: "You know back in the day, we had Big Daddy Kane/then we had Notorious B.I.G., but he gone/and my nigga Young Hov’s on the throne/Unlike Jay, I’m just like you/I’m fucked up, ain’t no tellin’ what I just might do/I might rob a nigga /I’ll kill a n**** like you." One of the lines he said: "I was even fucked up and got a job like you/I had quit it/Back on the block, I had to get it." From his words, he hit me. The majority of people are have-not’s, you know? He took himself out of being a rapper and put himself in the crowd. If people respond to that, then he’ll be a problem.

Continue reading the interview at our forum

published on November 29 th, 2007

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Ja Rule 'The Mirror' XXL Review

Below is XXL's review of Ja's upcoming album 'The Mirror' which we still dont know exactly when is out but can confirm that it most certinally did not come out yesterday despite a few newspapers saying so aswell as a small number of record stores. Credit goes to lokivvv2 for posting it on our forum.

Self-awareness has never been the strong suit of any rapper, but if there’s one MC who could benefit from some honest soul-searching, it’s Ja Rule. Since his career was dealt a near-deadly blow by 50 Cent in 2002, Ja’s tried to recapture his street credibility and pop success twice: first on 2003’s tough-talkin’ flop Blood in My Eye, and second on 2004’s R.U.L.E., which achieved moderate radio success but failed to reestablish the stumbled star as a bankable artist. Three years later, Ja and company seem ready for a fresh start. After beating federal money-laundering charges, label head Irv Gotti and the gang have left Def Jam, signed a new deal with Universal Motown and found another mainstream artist in singer Lloyd. And with G-Unit mania finally petering out, now seems to be Ja’s best shot at redemption. On his seventh album, The Mirror, the Hollis, Queens, native reflects, hoping to see if he’s still got it.

Careerwise, Ja needs to diss 50 again about as much as Curtis needs another hole in his head. But Rule’s ego can’t help but squeeze out one final parting message to his archrival on the album’s intro, where he spits, “With the wrath of my vengeance, get geeked up in da club/And get caught slippin’ is what I want/So I can finish what I started some time ago/And put that 10th bullet hole through your head and your heart.” Wisely, he stops dwelling on the tired beef and pairs himself with current hip-hop poster boys Lil Wayne (on the Minnesota-produced first single, “Uh Ohhh”) and The Game (on the warm, laid-back “Sunset”).

Clearly, Ja isn’t trying to learn any new tricks—he’s more concerned with trying to distill that mix of saccharine melody and overtly emotional delivery that first made him a multiplatinum seller. The dark, ferocious energy of his 1999 debut is briefly heard on the thumpin’ “300,” featuring a call to arms by his Mpire underlings Newz, Tre and Merce. However, the emotional R&B flavor that made 2000’s Rule 3:36 and 2001’s Pain Is Love so successful is best exemplified on the Rick Steel–produced “Damn,” where Ja examines that tricky game called love: “It gets lonely/Especially when you lookin’ at ya Rolie/And can’t buy the time on it/Or turn back the hands and relive them lost moments.”

Even with his singsongy, gravel-voiced delivery intact, Ja’s lack of fresh ideas and attention to detail still prevent him from becoming a more enduring artist. “Rules of Engagement” is a lazy extension of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments,” while “Enemy of the State” could easily be called “Phone Tap 2007.” On the Channel 7–produced “Father Forgive Me,” a bloated remake of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” Ja tries to address his isolation over the past few years but relies mostly on “I was born alone, I’ll die alone” clichés, rather than probing his emotions in an original way.

Still, Ja shows a glimmer of true self-reflection on the album’s emotional crux, “Love Is Pain,” where he rhymes over a glimmering Phil Collins sample: “No one hated me more than myself/It’s hard to relate to someone you know so well/Or so I thought—sometimes I look in the mirror and see someone else/There’s two of me, but I’m by myself.” Although not the triumphant return Ja Rule was looking for, The Mirror leaves hope for what lies ahead, when he finally breaks through the looking glass.—BRENDAN FREDERICK

published on November 14 th, 2007

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